Designing and Evaluating a Scientific Training Program and Virtual Learning Materials

By Lisa van Raalte and Rachel Boulay.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

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The University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine developed a professional development program and virtual learning materials to assist high school science teachers become familiar with laboratory techniques prior to engaging in authentic molecular biology research. The purpose of this paper is to provide an evaluative overview of the program with emphasis on the virtual materials that were designed to employ a blended learning approach to augment offline classroom learning. The virtual learning materials provide a unique sphere for scientific learning in which skills can be reproduced in an offline environment. Twelve high school science teachers participated in the training program and were given full access to the online materials. After participation in the program, teachers filled out a final survey and completed a final written reflective statement as a form of evaluating the program and online materials. Thematic analysis was used to code participants’ responses. Results showed that teachers recounted meeting the scientists as a valuable experience, teachers were grateful to learn real-world application of current research, and teachers described the importance of learning skills to prepare students to succeed in higher education. Additionally, results showed teacher’s intent to use the virtual learning materials as homework tools and in classroom lessons.

Keywords: Blended Learning, Professional Development, Science Teacher Training

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 233.079KB).

Lisa van Raalte

Educational Research Associate, Arizona State University, Arizona, USA

Lisa van Raalte is now a doctoral student in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Her research interests include interpersonal communication, quantitative methods, nonverbal communication, persuasion, and classroom assessment.

Dr. Rachel Boulay

Assistant Professor, Center for Cardiovascular Research, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Rachel Boulay is the Director of Education for the Center for Cardiovascular Research. She is committed to building the bridges between science teachers and scientists to collaboratively spark students' interest in science. She recently launched a statewide initiative to upgrade the content knowledge of biology teachers teaching in public high schools throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific. She has a broad background in research and evaluation as well as in curriculum development, technology integration and organizational change in education. Research areas include the development and structure of online open access content for teaching science, professional development for K-12 teachers and higher education faculty, and the instructional design of curriculum materials for use in blended learning environments.